2000 - Steve Delong of Amazing Facts came to my old junior high school to teach a seminar on Revelation, which lasted about a week. I wasn’t able to attend the whole thing, but my mom did. She really enjoyed it. She brought me all the handouts. After a few days going to the seminar, they ended up moving the meetings to the Charleston Seventh Day Adventist church. My mom said it was really nice. After the seminar was over, they gave everybody a chance to get baptized and become a member, but my mom never did.
March 2004 - My brother started taking some art classes at this art studio after school. The people that taught the class are a married couple by the names of Austell and Mary. My brother had been taking classes with them for several weeks, when one day, I went with my mom to pick him up and Austill was getting ready to leave. He said he had to paint a mural for a church. A picture of the image fell on the floor and my mom noticed that it was a symbol for the Seventh-Day Advent. She asked if that was where he was going and he said yes. He told my mom that he and Mary were members and that he was a deacon. My mom told him about our encounter with Steve Delong and the seminar & they invited us to come to the church sometime and meet one of the elders, Bart, who was teaching a class on the “Desire of Ages“ by Ellen G. White. So, we said sure.
So, a few days later, we went to the church to meet Bart. Austell and Mary were late because of their art class. So, we got acquainted and told Bart about our religious experiences & how we came to find out about the church. Bart told us a little about himself and his wife, Marie, whom we met later that evening. Austell & Mary finally showed up close to the time class was supposed to be over. We discussed whether or not to continue studying the “Desire of Ages” or start a study on Revelation. And they decided that a Revelation study was fine. I thought it was good, because I didn’t get to attend the whole seminar, so that would be helpful for me.
The study lasted about a month or a little longer. Austell and Mary didn’t get to attend the whole thing, because they had art classes. So, it just ended up being my mom & I with Bart teaching the class & Marie attended also.
While we were attending the study, they invited us to attend Sabbath service. I think we went a couple times. Usually it was me or my mom, but never us together. Once our studies were over, Bart gave my mom & me a pamphlet on the 27 fundamental beliefs of the SDA church (which can be viewed on the official website of the Seventh-day Advent church - http://www.adventist.org/) He told us to look over them and if we had any questions or concerns, we could go over them the next time we met. Which was several weeks later. They were going out of town a lot, plus Marie is a teacher (she teaches at the school which is a part of the church) and she got a job out of town during the summer.
So, needless to say, we didn’t get to meet very much after that. Every once and awhile I would run into Bart on the street during lunch time. He works across the road from me. He asked how we were doing & if we had been going to Sabbath services. I told him that we were fine and we haven’t been going, since we knew they were going to gone for a while and we didn’t know when they were coming back. We didn’t really know anyone, except that during the night when we met Bart & Marie, I saw a girl that I went to Junior High with. So, I thought that was cool.
October 2004 - Neither my mom & I had been to the church for several months now. And one day at work, my friend, Brandy, showed me this flyer that she had received in the mail about an “Israel in Prophecy” seminar that was coming up. She told me that she thought it looked interesting. I hadn’t received one yet and that night I called my mom & told her about it. It was to start that following Monday and last for 3 days. I asked if she wanted to go. It was going to be taught by Rich Cavaness, whom my mom recognized from the church, he spoke there once while she attended a service while we were taking classes with Bart. She told me to get back with her. So, on Monday, I called her and we decided to go. She came and picked me up. When we got there, we saw Bart & Marie, yay! So, at least we knew someone there. We also got to meet a few of the other members from the church.
The seminar was very cool & informative. I really enjoyed it. It was an hour & half long & lasted for 3 days. We studied two subjects per night. I liked the way Pastor Rich presented it, by using Power Point on the computer and projecting it on a screen. It made it easier to remember and plus, it catches your eyes and kept your attention. I also found out later, that’s how he does his church messages.
After the seminar was over, he passed out some fliers for another Revelation seminar. So, mom & I decided to attend that also. That made the 2nd time for me and 3rd time for my mom.
The seminar lasted for about a month and was every night except for Wednesdays & Sundays. After we finished the seminar, he asked people if they would like to be baptized and join the church & my mom & I both said yes.
November 22, 2004 - My mom, me & 4 other people were baptized and became members of the Seventh Day Advent.
I never thought I'd be attending this kind of church growing up. I've been attending churches ever since I was little. As a baby, I was baptized a Methodist. I started attending a non-denominational church in junior high with my parents, then after I turned 18, and my parents got divorced, I quit attending. Then I didn't start going back to church until about over a year ago, with this lady from work. I attended her Baptist church for a couple months then, when mom and I started taking classes at the Seventh Day advent I never went back. And I never will. I have learned so much and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
**I know a lot of people who have issues with the Seventh-Day Adventist church and their teachings. I ended a relationship with someone I was dating because of it. He didn't agree with my new beliefs and I found out through a mutual friend about it. I really wish he would have come to me about it. :(
Anyways, I just wanted to clear up the fact that even though I am a Seventh-day Adventist and I believe the teachings, I feel that there is to much emphases on the do's and don't in the church. Don't get me wrong, I believe that if you love God, you'll want to follow His commands. But, our main concern should be trying to reach others for Christ. I've noticed this recently. There are too many people in the church putting others down, because they're not following the teaching of the church. I say, "so what?" Nobody's perfect and we shouldn't be condemming each other, because of it. I also noticed that there is a lot of animosity in the church. Some people take things to seriously and hold grudges because of something that someone has done to them. It really doesn't surprise me that people are against us. We're having too many personal problems in the church and it's a bad reflection on us.
Another thing that bothers me - as a Christian - is the fact that there are so many different religions out there and everyone thinks they are better than the others. What kind of example are we setting. We should all be united in bringing people to Christ and not worrying about what "x & y" church is doing. I think it's funny. There is one God, one bible, but so many different religions. Why can't we all just get along?
I'm one of these people that believe that if you love God and you are saved through grace by faith, then you have the right to believe what you want to believe. I don't know everyone's heart, only God does. I'm in the church that I am now, because I started questioning my faith in God and in his teachings. I feel like He lead me to where He wants me to be right now. We shouldn't judge or criticize anyone because their beliefs are different from ours. I don't think this is what Christ had in mind. So, with all that being said, I just hope and pray that we will be more like Christ and learn to love one another inspite of our differences.
Below I have listed a few websites for you to check if you would like to learn some more about the Seventh Day Advent and what they believe.
http://www.adventist.org/ The official website of the SDA. Here you will find all the information you need to know, including the 27 fundamental beliefs that I mentioned earlier. Plus, it includes links to other very helpful and informative websites.
http://www.sabbathtruth.com/ I like this site because it gives information about what is considered the true Sabbath and includes some questions and answers which are also helpful.
http://www.boulevardsda.org/ - My former church's website (As of July of '09, I am no longer a member there)
http://www.adventist.org/ - Official website for Seventh-day Adventists
http://www.amazingfacts.org/ - Visit the Amazing Facts ministry website with Doug Batchelor